There are so many great things about being in a book club, from the camaraderie and a glass of wine on a night out to the discovery of new people and, of course, new books. But for many, a meet-in-real-life situation is not always possible. There are often time and distance constraints standing in the way of a commitment to a book club, but in many cases the real difficulty is finding the right people, or club, to join.
But if finding the time and opportunity to join a physical book club is getting more and more difficult for people, there is a fantastic alternative: a new, amazing level of engagement has emerged for book lovers online, and one of the very best digital intersections for social media users and readers is the availability of online book clubs. The benefits of belonging to an online book club are numerous: they’re casual, usually infrequent enough to allow enough time for you to actually finish the book, and (maybe best of all) there’s no guilt if you don’t. There’s also something for everyone, from genre- or gender-specific groups to groups led by celebrities.
Here are five of the biggest online book clubs you can join now, and start reaping the benefits of connecting with a great community. As for that glass of wine? Well, you’ll just have to pour it for yourself.
Emma Watson is an actor, a UN ambassador, an outspoken feminist and activist, and an avid reader. She is also the curator of one of Goodreads’s most popular book clubs for women, My Shared Shelf, which focuses on books that intersect Emma’s passions. With new book selections made every two months, the well-moderated discussions have plenty of time to develop.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
Longtime British television personalities Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan host a robust book community online that includes a seasonal list of books to focus on, and preview chapters, interviews, podcasts, book awards and a corporate partnership with bookseller WHSmith to support that community. Reading selections most often include popular fiction, mystery, thriller and historical fiction.
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
Oprah has taken some heat for her book club picks in the past, but there is no disputing that the queen of celebrity book clubs has encouraged thousands and thousands of people (mainly women) to spend time with a book, and there is also no disputing that putting her name next to an author’s is a pretty big endorsement. (Ahem, Jonathan Franzen.) Oprah’s is also one of the longest-running celeb book clubs, now in its twentieth year.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Fans of new adult fiction (looks like a lot of contemporary romance) can share their latest reads, connect with other readers and join in monthly group discussions of new adult fiction releases in this club with more than ten thousand members. There are reading challenges, reviews and, for monthly group members, both contemporary and noncontemporary book choices—a great way for younger readers or fans of the new adult category to experience a group read with their peers.
The Goal (Off-Campus #4) by Elle Kennedy
If you love reading all things history—military, political, ancient, popular, etc.—this is the online book club for you. Boasting a global membership and hosting a variety of lively discussions, this book club also features reading challenges, readathons, book giveaways and even a thoughtful chat-room-style thread for off-topic discussions. An alternative to most estrogen-heavy online book club sites.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
Do you belong to a book club? Would you consider joining an online book club? Let us know!